19/08/2016

Flashpoint Friday: Blood Hunt

Yep, I prepared this one in advance as well so I wouldn't break my perfect fortnightly publishing streak while away.


General Facts

Blood Hunt was released as part of the Shadow of Revan expansion (patch 3.0) in December 2014. Both Blood Hunt and Battle of Rishi were part of the expansion's main storyline and the first two flashpoints that launched with a solo mode right off the bat. Group-wise they only offered a tactical version initially, with the hardmode getting added in 3.1 two months later. Since 4.0, the tactical version is available from level 15 and the hardmode from level 50 onwards.

Even though nearly two years have passed since Blood Hunt and Battle of Rishi's release, we haven't seen another "regular" flashpoint since then. I don't really count the Star Fortresses, but I will be talking about those in more detail in another two weeks.

Fights

Blood Hunt is all about fighting Mandalorians and their pets, which is not totally unheard of (*cough*MandalorianRaiders*cough*) but not exactly a common theme in flashpoints, so it provides some variety from the usual fare. There is minimal trash, but instead there are six mini bosses aside from the three main boss fights, none of which really amaze in terms of mechanics, but none of them are boring either. In an interesting departure from most flashpoints, there isn't a single droid to fight in Blood Hunt.


The first boss is a giant jungle wampa called Kyramla Gemas'rugam (which apparently means "deadly hairball" in Mando'a) that throws rocks and summons adds, with the fight's main difficulty being a mix of considerable damage output and the fact that it is incredibly busy visually, making it easy to miss something important, like that your healer is getting mauled by adds for example. Said adds even used to have an enrage on hardmode (not sure if they still do), as does the boss himself.

The six mini bosses continue the theme of murderous pets, and three of them (one of two sets picked at random) need to be bested before the second "proper" boss fight unlocks. On hardmode, killing the other three afterwards counts as the flashpoint's bonus encounter, making this an incredibly easy bonus to snag.

The two sets of mini bosses are a k'lor'slug, a lurker and a rancor, or a jurgoran, a krak'jya and a tonitran. (All six are always present, but it's random which set of doors is open.) They all have little gimmicks to them, like the k'lor'slug only spawning after you've destroyed enough of its eggs, or the lurker slowly patrolling around its enclosure in a circle, but nothing that's in any way difficult to figure out. Like the first boss, they all have names in Mando'a, with the translation given underneath as a title. They are horrible to pronounce and nobody calls them by these names except crazy Mandalorian fanboys (you know who you are), but let's list them for the sake of completeness:

K'lor'slug - Adeen Edeemir - Merciless Bite
Lurker - Pirun Ut - Water Slime
Rancor - Cerar Be Kyr'am - Mountain of Death
Jurgoran - Yustapir Kyramid - River Assassin
Krak'jya - Dralne be te Oya'karir - Strongest of the Hunt
Tonitran - Hodayc Sur'haai - Cunning Eye


After besting these three randomly selected pets, you go up against the Mandalorian couple Jos and Valk Beroya, about whom I've written my fair share, mostly about what a horrible pug killer this fight is. You fight them separately at first, then a bunch of animals swarm the floor, and then you have to fight both at once. They have several high damage abilities that complement each other, and Jos has a brutal knockback that instantly sends players to their death if they are too close to the edge of the platform.

This fight is infamous for causing people issues on every single difficulty - yes, even on solo mode, as the GSI droid can get knocked off as well, or cause the bosses to evade by jumping to places he isn't supposed to be.

Tactical mode used to be relatively easy when it was originally released, but the 4.0 re-turning has turned it into a brutal death trap. The kolto stations at the edge of the platform almost feel like a cruel joke, considering that trying to activate them means leaving the safe middle and putting yourself in danger of being pushed to your death. The mobility requirements and the bursty damage that was originally designed with level 55 characters in mind - who had the tools to deal with them - is also a terrible burden on anyone coming into this flashpoint at a lower level these days.

Finally, the hardmode was incredibly punishing on release. Many groups couldn't even make it past the first boss's dps requirements, and if you did, Jos' incredible burst damage could kill even a tank in best in slot gear in seconds. Unlike the difficulty of Lost Island, which I wrote about two weeks ago, this inspired few declarations of love. Maybe the player base as a whole is less interested in challenge these days, but I would bet that the lack of any meaningful rewards and an instance with so much higher difficulty being thrown into the same mix as the other hardmode flashpoints definitely had something to do with it as well, neither of which were an issue with Lost Island. After completing Blood Hunt on hardmode for the first time since 4.0 the other night, I'm happy to say that Jos' worst abilities seem to have been tuned down a bit, but it still remains one of the more challenging hardmodes, no doubt about it.


The last boss is positively easy in comparison - while very flashy visually, she's basically a case of "stay out of the fire" (even if there is a lot of it), and as long as everyone can do that you'll probably be fine.

Story (spoilers?)

As this flashpoint is part of the main Shadow of Revan storyline, this is mildly spoilerish, but only very mildly.

While trying to find out what the Revanites are up to on Rishi, you've learned that a Mandalorian called Torch was in league with the Revanites for a while but had a falling out with them later on. You decide that it would make sense to question this Torch person to find out more about the Revanite's plans.

You borrow a shuttle to fly to the island where she and her fellow Mandalorians are hanging out. As you approach, you get shot down by its defenses and end up crashing on the edge of the island at night. It soon becomes clear that Torch is observing you and enjoys watching you fight the vicious wildlife she keeps on the island as well as her clan mates.

When you finally reach her, it turns out that "Torch" is Shae Vizla, the red-haired Mandalorian of "Deceived" trailer fame, only with some more wrinkles around her eyes by now. She still isn't too impressed by you and offers to talk only if you best her in a duel first. Once you do, she does commend you on your martial skills and is willing to share what she knows about the Revanites' plans.

Conclusion

Blood Hunt is a flashpoint of extremes. It's very atmospheric, and the Mandalorian compound could rival any James Bond villain's base of operations. I mean, Star Wars is often a bit over the top and generally embraces this, but the elaborated folding floor surrounded by lava falls in the last room is ridiculous even by those standards. While the animal bosses' names are hard to pronounce, the humanoid bosses are quite memorable, whether it's Shae's ruthless calm or Jos and Valk's endless bickering.


However, narratively it's in an awkward place in the story, forcing you to effectively spend more time and effort on interviewing a random Mandalorians than taking down the Revanites' fleet. The fights aren't bad in principle, but their wacky tuning has unfortunately made them stick in people's minds for all the wrong reasons, making Blood Hunt the sort of flashpoint many people immediately want to drop out of if they get it as their random of the day.

10 comments :

  1. I've only soloed it, but I love the atmospherics in this FP. The lava in the base reminds me of Blackrock Depths, even though it is MUCH shorter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, in terms of atmosphere it's very cool (if somewhat ridiculous). It's just a shame that the issues with its difficulty largely overshadow that for many (myself included).

      Delete
  2. Hey, what can I say? I have a penchant for remembering strange names. :p

    It's the same with Xivhalkrainik, Lotek'k, and three of the four Gree Droids from Coruscant (In-iK, Pat-aK, and Hib-R-aK).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may remember his full name, but it would definitely help if I spelt "Xivhkalrainik" properly..!

      Delete
    2. Bah, I was hoping that by putting all the boss names into the actual post I would be able to prevent you from leaving unpronounceable things in the comments! I actually had to google "Xivhkalrainik"...

      Delete
    3. I get bonus points for also knowing the actual name of the Terror From Beyond, though, right? :P

      Delete
    4. Ah, so that's what that was... :P

      Delete
  3. Oh Blood Hunt...the memories (or nightmares).

    In my recent runs it has mostly been the same - fail on the first boss due to enrage and group disbands after 2-3 times. My one successful attempt came very late in the night in a group with mostly 208/216 comms gear. These guys really knew their classes, which in so many cases trumps gear level. One thing that helped us defeat the first boss was a bit of bolster abuse on my part, swapping out some tank gear for some DPS pieces (bolster gives you a good bump on both sets of stats), as well as a lot of movement to CC adds once they spawned. This is of course in addition to the DPS continuing to DPS while staying out of the AOE (not an easy feat as both were snipers). After that it just seemed like we needed to put our time in to finish the FP.

    What is most striking for me is that the 4.0 revamp really messed up the relative difficulties of the fights. In 3.0, everything seemed equally difficult throughout the FP. Now, after the DPS check of the first boss, the others are really about the healer keeping the tank up. I just made sure that the bosses were on me and cycled through some cooldowns when needed and we had no issues. On Jos and Valk, we focused on Jos and then easily dealt with Valk -- there was no enrage or damage increase that I could see. And Shae Vizla also doesn't have an enrage timer (or it's INCREDIBLY generous). Maybe it was this way in 3.0 and i don't remember it. We eventually lost both DPS to her pull everyone in and fill the room with fire mechanic, so the final 10% or so was just the healer keeping me up while I slowly DPS'd her down (back in 100% tank gear for this).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm, are you talking about hardmode? Because there my impression would have been the opposite - that the bosses are at least a little bit more even now than they were in during Shadow of Revan. Back then, it was just ridiculous how hard Jos & Valk were, while Shae Vizla was almost a pushover in comparison.

      Now J&V have been toned down a bit, while Shae seems to pack a bit more of a punch than before.

      The first boss has always been in the middle in terms of difficulty for me. With the exception of one particular instance, I don't remember him being a huge obstacle (though certainly challenging).

      Delete
    2. Maybe I just don't remember HM in 3.0 that well. It has been over a year.
      The group that I was in that completed the HM version in 4.0 wiped three times on the Wampa before we got through it, then once on J&V, and that was 100% my fault since I got too close to the edge and got tossed off. Shae was tough, but I also found that backing up during her flamethrower cleave makes a huge difference (one wipe there as well since I died early). Could be my lazy habits as a tank too - I don't do a lot of HM raiding and it's usually with some very well geared and experienced guildmates, so I'm mostly used to SM, HM EV and KP, and HM FPs.

      Delete